Free Markets, Free People


Medicare Queens, Matt Taibbi and the cluelessness of the left

First recognize that we’re talking about "Rolling Stone" here, so in reality, the cluelessness should come as no real surprise. Well, apparently it shouldn’t come as any real surprise when associated with "political strategists" and "political commentators" on the left either, but I’ve already covered that today.

"Rolling Stone", however, is more of a cultural zine. Or was. But recently it put a scalp under its belt with the story it did on Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Never mind the general was an Obama pick, voted for Obama and was of a liberal mindset, a general is a general to the left. One down many to go.

But hey, in a world where the dead tree media is withering on the vine, it was a scalp that promised survival for a while. Ever ambitious, "Rolling Stone" has since decided to go after bigger game – the Tea Party. The new bête noire of the left, the Tea Party was an irresistible target.

And so off to Kentucky galloped "Rolling Stone’s" pick to handle this important assassination journalism project – Matt Taibbi. Three whole times Taibbi made the trip. And at its conclusion, based on what he’d observed there, felt qualified to tar the entire movement as a bunch of hypocrites and welfare recipients. And as you might imagine, it isn’t a flattering picture.

Taibbi then "validates" his entire premise in this excerpt that David Freddoso has helpfully clipped:

A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it.

After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives. I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.

“I’m anti-spending and anti-government,” crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. “The welfare state is out of control.”

“OK,” I say. “And what do you do for a living?”

“Me?” he says proudly. “Oh, I’m a property appraiser. Have been my whole life.”

I frown. “Are either of you on Medicare?”

Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!

“Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”

…Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it’s going. But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of sh–. All of them.

Frankly, I can’t imagine a more clueless argument. And it sends Freddoso into rant mode:

Of all the arguments liberals bring up against the Tea Party, this has to be the stupidest. Not only have millions of seniors and their employers paid billions of dollars into the Medicare system — 2.9 percent on every dime they’ve worked for in their entire life — but the program’s very existence has dried up whatever market there once was for old-age medical insurance. Our Medicare system, as President Obama never fails to point out, is unsustainable, and yet thanks to the government, very few senior citizens have any alternative.

Exactly so – you don’t pay into "welfare", nor are you in the Medicare system because you want to be. You’re there because at age 65, for the vast majority of Americans, you are given no choice! That’s a part that the left always forgets. If given a choice, would they be as "happy" with Medicare as the left likes to claim they are? Is their reticence to change in Medicare because they like it or because there is nothing else available to them? Those questions go unanswered because government has ensured there’s no viable option to its program.

Secondly, I don’t find most of what I read and hear from the Tea Party as "anti-government" as it appears Taibbi defines it (i.e. "no government"). I understand the Tea Party to represent those who want the return to Constitutional government in the strictest sense. That necessarily means a smaller, less intrusive and less costly government. But I’ve never understood it to mean "no government". Freddoso also rifts on the supposed hypocrisy Taibbi implies:

Taibbi also implies that conservatives have no place working for the government. (Hypocrisy! You believe government shouldn’t exist!) That’s basically all you need to know about the tone of his way, way longer than it’s worth reading piece, which is at various points just a stream of profanity. (He also predicts the inevitable co-opting of Rand Paul by the establishment GOP — he’ll sell out, just like his dad, right?)

If you’re still wondering if you ought to read Taibbi’s piece, Freddoso drops this last nugget to consider at your feet: [I]t isn’t young [libertarian] intellectuals like Koch who will usher Paul into the U.S. Senate in the general election; it’s those huge crowds of pissed-off old people who dig Sarah Palin and Fox News and call themselves Tea Partiers. And those people really don’t pay attention to specifics too much. Like dogs, they listen to tone of voice and emotional attitude.

Why is it every time I see a lefty say something like this my first thought is the almost Pavlovian reaction most of the left had to the "hope and change" mantra? As Palin would say, "how’s that hopey-changy thing working out", hmmm Mr. Taibbi?

Freddoso answers with a wicked jab at Taibbi’s cluelessness:

Oh, I see. So who does Taibbi think votes for Democrats? Do they win on the back of the college professor vote? Or is it on the back of ominous, threatening and false rumors that Republicans will take away Social Security, let old people die in the streets, then bury them in segregated cemeteries so that their bodies can be covered in toxic sludge until the oil companies decide they want to drill there?

Love it. Every lefty canard wrapped up in a single sentence. Read Taibbi’s piece if you must (unlinked here), but trust me, you’ve seen its thrust above and, unsurprisingly, it misses pretty badly. Freddoso concludes:

Perhaps next time Taibbi writes he can apply a few more facts and less uninformed, vulgar liberal smugness.

Yeah, I doubt it – that would require actual journalism.

~McQ

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46 Responses to Medicare Queens, Matt Taibbi and the cluelessness of the left

  • Good. Sounds like the left is running scared.

  • Taibbi is a veteran a**hat though.  I bet if that couple was offered a choice of getting refunded all they paid into Medicare and leaving it, I wonder what they’d say?

  • Taibbi was co-founder of “The eXile,” a gonzo free paper for expat English-speakers in Russia after the fall of communism. It was a cynical, decadent hoot. A Russian friend still has my anthology of eXile issues.

    When Taibbi returned to the US, he set up shop at Rolling Stone, using the same indignant voice to take down Republican and conservatives, and Democrats if they stray too far into R & C territory. The joke wears thin because it becomes obvious that turning on a Taibbi rant is pretty easy, no matter who or what the target is.

    Taibbi has no moral or intellectual center beyond “Everyone I dislike is a corrupt moron.”

    • eXile was a great read, the problem with Taibbi is that his cynicism is just a practiced act.  The second he got back to the States it vanished, or was dropped, because all round cynicism doesn’t pay near as well as shilling for a party line.  He chooses to rep for the democrats. 

      BTW: Ames is still around a piece of his on farm subsidies got linked to by Reason: Hit&Run a while back. 

  • Tea Party members aren’t part of a organized political party, but rather a political movement that aligns more with the Republican party than Democrats, but is free to co-opt either party when it meets their purposes. Most members of the movement don’t agree with most other members on a whole range of topics, but are united around their core beliefs of fiscal responsibility, elected representatives should represent and the Constitution is not an imposition that needs to be shirted whenever possible.

    Those in the US who don’t understand this concept figure these folks must be a bunch of racist, yahoos, and hillbillies, but alas that is just “projection.” Unable to grasp anything greater than merely pulling the “party lever” in elections, they are doomed to a sorry existence of stupefied intellectualism that could best be described as “politics for dummies.”

  • So you actually think insurance companies are going to offer older people insurance they can afford?  I buy my own insurance.  Neither I nor anyone in my family has any serious medical issues.  It costs $700/month with a $5600 deductible.  That’s $14,000 out of pocket a year.  Exactly what do you think it would cost people in their 70s or 80s.  Make an argument about how your way would work.  But don’t make idiotic assertions with no facts behind them.

    • I’ve seen people at 65 dumped by their employers into Medicare.

    • If insurance companies don’t there’s always Medicare, Bob. But right now seniors don’t have that choice, do they? And without a large pool of prospective customers, no I wouldn’t expect low cost insurance at this time – government has destroyed that market. But I am amused by your implication that insurance companies exist to be non-competitive and price themselves out of business. Makes lots of sense, doesn’t it?

    • So you actually think insurance companies are going to offer older people insurance they can afford?

      That is certainly a testable hypothesis, innit…?  How about we set up conditions where we actually get to test it?
      Here’s a truism…
      BIG GOVERNMENT ruins.
      Markets innovate and raise the standard of living.
      It works like magic when you apply it.

    • No  it’s NOT $14000 a year – it’s $8400 a year UNLESS YOU GET SICK and you accrue $5600 in deductible expenses.


      I have the same problem though.  The difference seems to be I wasn’t looking for you to pay my bill via taxes.
      Since Obamacare hasn’t taken effect yet would you be willing to voluntarily send me some of your money if I need it for my health or my family’s health until magic Obamacare kicks in and we all get as much ‘free’ care as we need forever and ever?

      Because that’s really what we’re talking about, you appear to want the government to handle the cash exchange between us.
       

      • Looker,
        First, why can’t you, “Ragspierre” and others in this comment thread use your real name?  What are you afraid of?

        Second, you’re right, it’s $14,00 out of pocket if I get sick before the insurance company pays anything.

        Third, what are you talking about?  My point is that old folks would not be able to afford healthcare if there were only private insurance companies.  Or do you have some magic model where they were willing to lose money talking care of people with myriad illnesses, unless of course, they jacked up the cost for younger folks.  Is your solution to simply let anyone who can’t afford private insurance die?

        Bruce, I can’t follow your logic.  You say old folks don’t have a choice.  Your reason for saying that is that Medicare has destroyed the private market.  But then in your repsonse to me you say that if old folks can’t get insurance, there’s always Medicare.  Which I thought you said its mere existence destroys the private market.

        • “Third, what are you talking about?  My point is that old folks would not be able to afford healthcare if there were only private insurance companies.  Or do you have some magic model where they were willing to lose money talking care of people with myriad illnesses, unless of course, they jacked up the cost for younger folks.  Is your solution to simply let anyone who can’t afford private insurance die?”
          I’m trying to figure out where, as a clearly conservative bastard, it became my responsibility to cover your health Bob.   Oddly enough, I don’t ask you to cover mine, I consider that fair.  I’m a little tired of the liberal canard of starving the old or sending them out to die in the snow if I don’t agree that your answer is the acceptable answer to whatever social problem the government has taken it into it’s head to solve.
          We have a non market, courtesy of government intervention, and you’re absolutely convinced that no model private enterprise could come up with would be able to improve on the governments.

          There will be rationing, there will be limits on care and with the government running the industry, you will ultimately have less recourse than you do today to spend your own money to purchase medical solutions.  In the process, they’ll take everyone’s money, and, if it’s like most other government operations, it will be poorly spent.  Which government program currently in operation are we to look to for the golden example of how successful and cost effective this new program will be?

        • It would be a fairly simple model, Bob.  Just like now where insurance policy costs are not age based, but rather spread over the entire population.  In fact, that is why Obamacare wants a mandate.  They want to force the population of young, inexpensive policy holders to help level the costs for the rest of the population.
          So, it would be pretty easy to imagine an insurance company offer guaranteed insurance prices for someone who holds a policy for a number of years.  It would follow the life insurance model.  I started with a State Farm whole life policy in 1969 for $16.60 a month.  Today it is is still the same level premium.  it would not be hard to structure a similar health policy with some provision for inflation and increased costs due to new medical equipment and procedures.
          But, as Bruce points out, we have none of that now because Medicare eliminates all competition.

        • “Or do you have some magic model where they were willing to lose money talking care of people with myriad illnesses, unless of course, they jacked up the cost for younger folks.”

          To focus more precisely – and you think the government is the answer for this – how many generations of younger folks are you happy jacking the cost up on?  The government is not worried about ‘losing money’ because there’s a  huge supply of people available that they can hold up at gun point to collect funds for whatever new ‘right’ we can imagine we’re all entitled to.

        • First, why can’t you, “Ragspierre” and others in this comment thread use your real name?  What are you afraid of?

          >>> Is that relevant to the discussion?

        • First, why can’t you, “Ragspierre” and others in this comment thread use your real name?

           

          Because ideas can stand on their own merit.  Concepts do not require bon-a-fides as to what school we went to or what our professional background is or what societal group we fall into.

          What are you afraid of?

          Fear doesn’t come into it.

        • Really? You do know that “old folks” are the richest demographic in the country, don’t you Bob?

          As for explaining my “logic” – the way Medicare has been written into law destroyed the private insurance market because those over 65 are forced into Medicare whether they would prefer something else or not. By law. The only choice they actually have is which supplementary policy to buy because of the coverage gap.

          Freedom is choice, Bob. “Old folks” aren’t given any when it comes to their medical coverage. And now, thanks to ObamaCare, more choice is being taken away from us. Is that the direction in which you prefer to see your country headed?

          • “”To the rest of you, if you can’t find out who I am, then you have no business on this blog.  You see, this blog is part of something called the internet.  It has powerful search functions.  One is called Google.  It’s so popular that it has become a verb, i.e., to be “Googled.”  Try it.”

            Why Bob?  What difference does it make concerning your facts, your opinions, or your arguments?  Why would I feel the need to find out who you are?   Either your arguments stand as you’ve posted them, or they don’t, either I agree, or I don’t.  If you turn out to be famous, or infamous, or just some guy,  it’s what you argue, not who you actually  are.

            We have a college professor who comes in here, or used to, all the time.  He posts under his own name, he has a blog, he tries to parlay his degree and placement at a university into extra credibility and fails miserably because he spends all his time parroting the talking points of whatever socialist thought process he’s channeling.  He’d be just as well off, and just as ‘respected’,  if he posted under the moniker of MouseyTongue.
             

          • Bruce, my apologies – wrong reply.

    • Bob,

      The key is to understand why health coasts are so high in the first place. And this is the main (but not the only) reason: government incentives (via the tax code) encourage employeer provided health insurance as the norm, with the unintended result that there in no price competition in the system.

      Reinstating cost competition (reforming the tax code) would bring down costs for all of us.

      If costs come down, seniors would not need insurance for routine care. Particularly if they were able to save the money they otherwise pay in Medicare. Of course, it is possible that market forces would create health insurance for seniors, particularly to cover catastrophic care.

      • ” employer provided health insurance as the norm, with the unintended result that there in no price competition in the system”

        Sorry but this is false reasoning.  The tax incentive is to employees receiving the benefit.  To a company, its pure expense.

        And because its an expense, they are very much interested in applying pressure to keep costs down.  And they have two advantages over private individuals.
        1) When a company walks from an insurance company, they take hundreds or thousands of people with them all at once.   When they take on a new carrier, that carrier gets hundreds or thousands of new people.
        2) When a company is concerned about cost, they have the resources to investigate whether the insurance company is being honest and efficient.   They can make changes without the emotional attachments people have.  When people are sick, or even more so when spouse or children are sick, cost goes out the window.  “Treatment now, worry about cost later”.  This is especially true because most illnesses start out as unknowns and there is little thought given between the diagnosis and treatment phase about cost.  One runs into the other.   A company facing expenses from a broad spectrum of treatments makes it aware of where the big costs are and its emotional detachment makes it more than willing to apply competitive pressure.
         

        • If it was pure cost to the company, they wouldn’t offer it. Instead, it is a way to offer compensation that isn’t taxed.

          As far as 1) goes, in a free market each individual would be making the selection to improve his situation, so a noncompetitive provider would shortly be out of buisness. Each individual may carry less weight than the company, but each one would be making a better choice for themselves.

          With respect to 2), individuals don’t have to “investigate” to determine if the provider is “honest” or “efficient”. They simply shop for the service they want at the best price they can find.

          If your premise was right, socialism would work. It isn’t, and doesn’t.

    • The problem with you comparison is that medicare is cheaper because everyone has been forced to pay into it their whole lives, many don’t live long enough to make much use of it, and the government strong arms medicine to accept cut rate prices forcing your insurance/bills to be even more expensive.

      Given those circumstances, competitive insurance could be offered easily.

  • “you’re absolutely convinced that no model private enterprise could come up with would be able to improve on the governments.”
    –No, I’m just waiting to hear a model that doesn’t treat healthcare as if it were the big screeen TV market.  If you argue that everyone is on his own on healthcare, that it’s a discretionary purhcase, that we have no collective responsibility to those who can’t afford it, then we probably can’t ever agree on this.  Besides, when did it become my responsibility to pay for your education and the roads you drive on?  Where does this “you’re on your own” thing end?

    Rick, are you saying we mandate that insurance companies offer “whole life” health insurance?  Who would mandate that?  The government?  What if the insurers don’t want to do that?  What evidence do you have that they will?

    Don, if your theory were correct, wouldn’t prices be coming down over the last couple of decades as fewer employers offer healthcare?  Or am I missing your point?

    To everyone who is anonymous, I just think people should be willing to stand behind thier opinions.  I guess I’m old fashioned that way.  Maybe even conservative.  Like the founding fathers, who were willing to put their name on their Declaration.

    • To everyone who is anonymous, I just think people should be willing to stand behind thier opinions.  I guess I’m old fashioned that way.  Maybe even conservative.  Like the founding fathers, who were willing to put their name on their Declaration

      >>> No, you’re just trying to claim some false superiority is all you really are.  I speak for myself only, but there are reasons I comment anonymously, and no I don’t feel I have to share or justify to you. If you don’t like it, that’s your problem.  If you choose to discard my comments because of it, that’s your choice.

      • Shark,
        Again, I share with conservatives the idea that people should take responsibility for themselves.  Perhaps you disagree.

        • I share with conservatives the idea that people should take responsibility for themselves.

          So go all the way with it and provide your address and phone number.

        • “Again, I share with conservatives the idea that people should take responsibility for themselves.”

          to be snarky, except for health care…you seem to think we should all be responsible for that, regardless of how someone has chosen to treat their own body over the years.

          Yet another ‘right’, like, uh, roads, and, uh education (which are also not rights).
          Just because I found myself born into a system that already covered those things (and I been payin your way for those roads and educations just like you have mine, for a reasonable number of decades now) doesn’t mean I HAVE to agree with you about our new opportunity to pay for everyone’s health care. 

          You already acknowledge you probably won’t agree with me, but you keep trotting out canards as a way of insisting I agree with you.  If you’re going to continue to imply that I want to kill old people, possibly club puppies (we just haven’t gotten around to that yet), and blow up all the roads and schools in some sort of tax anarchist orgy, there’s not much point in this is there.

        • Again, I share with conservatives the idea that people should take responsibility for themselves.

          >>>> The idea of personal responsibility also extends to taking what I feel are appropriate safeguards as I deem necessary.

        • Bob, just a reminder. This is the internet, not the real world.

          If you really want to take responsibility for your opinions and stand up for them, post your telephone number and address. Make them part of  ALL your internet traffic. Then after a month or two come back and tell us how that worked out.

    • Like the founding fathers, who were willing to put their name on their Declaration.

      Bob G.: When it comes time to sign the Declaration of Independence, I’ll sign my real name. In the meantime, “huxley” is as good as “Publius”  — the name Madison, Hamilton, and Jay used for the Federalist Papers.

      I’ll bet you didn’t know that. Peddle your self-righteousness elsewhere.

    • No Bob, you read too fast and confused two sentences.  The first said the government needs the mandate to force the young to subsidize older policy holders or their cost curve bends up way out of sight.  Without the mandate, ObamaCare is dead.

      My second sentence compared a possible life long insurance program with whole life.  Level pay, whole life is structured for premiums based on the starting age.  It would be pretty easy to structure a health insurance policy along similar lines.

      For now, we have pretty close to that with employee provided health insurance.  With the large employee pools, the 20 year old and the 60 year old are charged the same.  The idea would be to extend that concept into retirement.  I argue Medicare is designed as “pre paid health insurance” for those over 65.   It would not be at all difficult to structure current insurance programs to continue on to what is now solely Medicare territory.

      I still favor the McCain proposal to remove health insurance from being a free benefit and taxing health care provided by employers, but also allow for a significant income tax credit for health insurance.  That puts everyone on a more equitable footing.

      Bob, you seem to have very little faith in markets.  I claim almost every “market failure” is actually a “government failure” as it tried to manipulate the market for its own purposes.  We can see that is spades with the housing and mortgage markets.

    • “Besides, when did it become my responsibility to pay for your education and the roads you drive on?”

      Paid for them all by yourself, did you now? Thank you. I am wondering, however, where all my tax money went. 

      ” What evidence do you have that they will?”

      . The history of mankind would seem to indicate that if there is a money-making opportunity somone will grab it. Which is more evidence than you can present that noone will.

      “I just think people should be willing to stand behind thier opinions”

      Horse hockey. This is just some personal nit that you are picking to boost your own ego.  The obvious implication of this sentence is that the rest of us  are all cowardly liars if we don’t use our real names while you are some courageous and bold hero that ‘speaks truth to power’. Again, horse hockey.
      Frankly, I don’t believe that is your real name. Please supply your ss number, address, and date of birth so I can confirm it.

    • –No, I’m just waiting to hear a model that doesn’t treat healthcare as if it were the big screeen TV market.  If you argue that everyone is on his own on healthcare, that it’s a discretionary purhcase, that we have no collective responsibility to those who can’t afford it, then we probably can’t ever agree on this.  Besides, when did it become my responsibility to pay for your education and the roads you drive on?  Where does this “you’re on your own” thing end?

      Well, whatever you want to believe about healthcare, the fact is that if it is socialized we simply can’t afford it. I think it is morally wrong to force someone to pay for another’s healthcare, but even if you don’t agree with that, the fact is the country will go broke if we keep paying for others healthcare. The English, Canadians, Cubans and Spanish are all having trouble with their systems, the Aussies reformed their system in 2008 (to another system that won’t work), etc. Our Medicare system will make us go broke.

      Any system where we are collectively responsible for others healthcare will drive us broke. Unless we decide on a system that provides very crappy benifits (like how Cuba is trying to save their system).

      Don, if your theory were correct, wouldn’t prices be coming down over the last couple of decades as fewer employers offer healthcare?  Or am I missing your point?

      Are a higher percentage of Americans paying out of pocket for healthcare? No, I suspect more are now under medicare and medicaid, and I doubt many have been dropped by employeers as you state.

      Look at real out of pocket systems, like much of eye care (specifically laser eye surgery), vet care, plastic surgery, etc., the stuff that isn’t funded by insurance.

      The cost driver in health is lack of point of service payments and therefor the lack of price competition. Smaller problems that also add in are tort and overhead. The tort portion is obvious, but the overhead in the form of HMOs, etc., are a result of medical providers binding together to afford a buisness office so they can justify costs and services to insurance companies and the government (who is paing the bills). In a free market system, the patient would pay the bill, and he would know what he’s getting for his money, and the HMO offce would be uneeded overhead.

  • Good morning, gentlemen, although I cannot be sure some of you are men, given your handles.

    Rick,
    “It would be pretty easy to structure a health insurance policy along similar lines.
    For now, we have pretty close to that with employee provided health insurance.”

    While I agree that employer-provided health benefits should be taxed, it seems to me you have an unsubstantiated faith that insurance companies, left to their own devices, would create a health insurance plan based on the whole life model.  I have no reason to believe that is true, and it still seems to leave the consumer vulnerable if s/he doesn’t sign up for it.  You are assuming that insurance companies would devise such a plan and never drop someone’s coverage if they get expensively sick.  What evidence do you have, other than a “faith in markets”?

    In fact, we do not have free markets in this country.  Our markets are constrained and rigged by tax codes, regulations and corporate practices that reward some and punish others.  Why, for example, should a renter be forced to subsidize homeowners?  Why should I be forced to subsidize businesses research costs?  Remove the deductibility of all such expenditures.  Then you move closer to truly free, unfettered markets.

    The debacle in the banking industry was clearly a “market failure.”

    To the rest of you, if you can’t find out who I am, then you have no business on this blog.  You see, this blog is part of something called the internet.  It has powerful search functions.  One is called Google.  It’s so popular that it has become a verb, i.e., to be “Googled.”  Try it.

    Griendling. You really think I made that up?  I have had my own, somewhat sporadic, blog (http://www.CommonwealthCommonsense.com) under my own name since 2004, and another blog in the past year called http://www.NewsCommonsense.com.

    How’s that “worked out for me”?  Well, I have no evidence that anyone has tried to physically harm me because of it, though I suspect at some point, someone, probably wearing a mask to hide his identity or attacking me from behind, will try.  That’s what cowards do.

    • The debacle in the banking industry was clearly a “market failure.”

      No, it is the result of government intrusion in the marketplace. Fannie, Freddie, the Community Reinvestment Act, suits against redlinning, etc.

    • To the rest of you, if you can’t find out who I am, then you have no business on this blog.  You see, this blog is part of something called the internet.  It has powerful search functions.  One is called Google.  It’s so popular that it has become a verb, i.e., to be “Googled.”  Try it.

      >>> Gee, you’re such a ray of sunshine to deal with.  Ok, my real name is Michael Hunt.

      Google that one.

      • “To the rest of you, if you can’t find out who I am, then you have no business on this blog.”

        Is there some reason we should actually give a sh** who you are? Is there a reward? Why do you give a sh** who we are? 

        If using a nom de net is so offensive to you, you have no business on this blog or on the internet.  This must be the new ad hominem argument.
        I guess you don’t read much, either, since many authors use a nom de plume. 

    • As a friend of mine pointed out, today, up until the mid 90′s, people we worked with who retired continued to get corporate supplied health insurance, at no cost, for the rest of their lives.  Starting in the mid 90′s, they were moved to Medicare and continue to get a Medicare supplemental package.  the cost of that package has risen from $0 to $60 month.  So, it was done and is still partially being done.

      I find your implied belief that the insurance market would not create a product that people wanted to buy to be a stunning admission of lack of understanding of how market’s work.  I have a firm belief insurance companies would create products to address the needs of the market.  Why would you think otherwise?. Companies create products for every other market.  What makes you think insurance is different other than government has a tendency to stick its paw in insurance markets more than most.  For further evidence, take a look at the Florida property insurance market.  The Florida legislature pretty well destroyed that market and now is the major provider of windstorm insurance.  heaven help us if we get hit again.  It will bankrupt the state.

      If you think the housing market and mortgage meltdown was a market failure, you are probably beyond hope.  For a moment though, remind yourself how government has encouraged and subsidized home ownership since the 30′s.  Remind yourself of how, when Bush tried to get control of Freddie and Frannie, Barney Frank would rather “roll the dice” while Dodd pulled out the filibuster card.  Remind your self how since Continental Illinois in 1984, we have a had “too big too fail” as a backstop to bank risk taking.  Remind yourself of Greenspan reacting to the dot com meltdown by lowering interest rates to 1% for an extended period of time and reccomending ARM’s.  Remind yourself of Freddie and Fannie lowering their standards and buying 105% mortgages.  Ask yourself, too, what effect FDIC insurance has on bank risk taking?  What would happen if that were a private function and banks had to pay based on the risks in their portfolios.  Ask yourself how risky 30:1 leverage in investment banks is?  I only stop on this one because I am out of breathe, not out of points to make on government failures.

      I am afraid, Bob, you are one of those guys who looks first to government for solutions.  But government solutions lead to lack of options and inevitably a failure by government to honor its promises.  Buy into those promises at your own risk.  Just don’t force me to buy in, too.

       

      • The thing is, at this point it is clear that socialism “is running out of other people’s money” everywhere.

        The feel good “but everyone should be covered!” argument is falling flat. It was always born of a moral falsehood (that somehow those in need have a right to the property of others) and economic stupidity (that you can reward failure and punish success without economic implication), but now the simple numbers are no longer adding up.

        We can’t afford it. The smart people knew it would come to this. Now, all but the most willful idiots are faced with this truth.

        • Keep it up Don, we’re going to have to play the “old people dying in the snow” card on you.

          Ironic that liberals are statistically lousy givers to charity isn’t it…..